Non-traditional construction speeds residence hall project
March 09, 2006

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            When students move into North Hall next August they will see a building that looks like any other on campus – bricks and concrete put together to provide a comfortable home away from home for college students.
But unlike any other building on campus, the walls and floors of North Hall were built off-site, trucked to Bryan and assembled like a giant puzzle.
Tim Hostetler, Bryan’s vice president for operations, said the non-traditional construction technique was chosen for this project because of the need to be in the building by August, far earlier than would have been possible through traditional methods.
Erecting the walls began March 8, a process expected to take about three weeks to complete, but construction of the walls began a week earlier at the Metromont plant in LaVergne, Tenn., some 150 miles from Dayton.
Scott Boling, Metromont’s supervisor for the Bryan project, said the panels are built on a table approximately 350 feet long, long enough to build six of the 44-foot-long sections a day. Workers first polish and oil the table in preparation for the day’s production.
Working from detailed drawings, craftsmen set forms for each window, air conditioner or outdoor electrical outlet. Bricks are laid into plastic trays, and wood strips are placed to create decorative patterns in exposed concrete.
            After reinforcing steel and pre-stressing cables are properly in place, a three-inch layer of white concrete is poured and allowed to set up. Then foam insulation panels are installed, electrical conduit and boxes are set, additional steel is placed and the interior layer of gray concrete is poured, tied to the exterior layer by carbon fiber strands.
            Mr. Boling said once the concrete is dry, the panels are moved to stands where they are sand blasted and pressure-washed, then placed on flatbed trailers for the trip to Dayton.
            “We can make four to six panels per day, depending on the complexity of the panel,” Mr. Boling said. Some 48 panels are needed for the building.
            Once on campus, the trailers are parked in the soccer field parking lot until the panel is needed. The trailer is moved to the construction site and a crane lifts them into place.
View pictures of the panel construction process here.